When exploring the state-by-state legal framework for gestational surrogacy, many states permit surrogacy simply because there’s no statue or case law which prohibits it. Alabama is one of those states. Therefore, Alabama is considered “surrogacy neutral” and surrogacy contracts are presumed enforceable under standard contract law. This includes both commercial surrogacy and “altruistic” arrangements, as well as, traditional surrogacy. Traditional surrogacy carries unique risks because of the genetic relationship between the surrogate and the child(ren), so it’s discouraged generally but may be advised depending on your specific situation. Most surrogacy arrangements in Alabama and elsewhere, however, cover gestational carriers. While there are no specific laws governing surrogacy in Alabama, there are ethical and practical standards established by attorneys who specialize in assisted reproduction law as well as Reproductive Endocrinologists and fertility clinics dedicated to helping people create and grow their families. Contract law and thoughtful and ethical considerations guide surrogacy agreements in Alabama. This page is an excellent resource as an overview on considerations when undergoing a surrogacy journey in Alabama. Please use it as a starting place to deepen your understanding of local surrogacy laws in Alabama. The content included below isn’t meant to substitute legal advice from a experienced surrogacy attorney. Always get your legal advice from a qualified professional. One extremely important thing to consider about surrogacy in Alabama, as abortion is currently illegal (as of June 24, 2022) after the point of conception, there are unique risks with pursuing a surrogacy journey in Alabama post Dobbs. Intended Parents and surrogates must understand how this may impact their surrogacy arrangements, including the potential for health risks for the gestational carrier. It may be possible for a surrogate agreement to stipulate circumstances in which it’s advisable for the surrogate to travel out of state to receive reproductive healthcare. Please visit our attorney directory to find counsel in Alabama to answer specific questions you may have.
- Alabama does not have specific statutes governing surrogacy, but surrogacy is allowed because there are no regulations prohibiting its practice.
- Surrogacy agreements in Alabama may be legally enforceable, however, there is a lack of legal framework to regulate or recognize such agreements so it’s best to discuss this with an Assisted Reproduction Attorney licensed in the state.
- Married or Unmarried Heterosexual and LGBTQ+ couples, individuals experiencing infertility or medical issues where pregnancy is not possible or advised, Intended Parents who have a serious genetic issue or condition they do not wish to pass onto their children, and anyone that believes surrogacy is the right medical decision for themselves and their families can participate as an Intended Parent in the state.
- You can do an independent journey (without a surrogacy agency) in the state, and there are many compelling reasons to consider that option.
- Under the Alabama Uniform Parentage Act, Married couples who undergo Assisted Reproduction are treated as the legal parents of children conceived from donated genetic materials. Unmarried couples do not have the same protections.
- Pre-birth orders may be unpredictable and depend on your county as well as the inclinations of local judges. Post-birth motions might be the recommended path to establish parentage. Counties that have fertility clinics may have judges that are more familiar with surrogacy and may be more likely to grant pre-birth parentage orders.
Definition of surrogacy
Assisted reproductive technology refers to various medical procedures used to achieve pregnancy and includes methods such as in vitro fertilization and gestational surrogacy. Surrogacy is the process in which a woman carries a pregnancy for another person or couple, known as the Intended Parents, who are unable to conceive or carry a child themselves. The laws surrounding surrogacy vary from state to state in the United States, including Alabama. In Alabama, there are currently no specific statutes governing surrogacy. However, many legal experts agree that surrogacy is generally allowed in the absence of laws prohibiting its practice. Intended Parents can enter into a contract with a gestational surrogate and have their parental rights established through court order after the birth of the child, though there are restrictions as noted below. It is important for individuals considering surrogacy in Alabama to consult with an experienced attorney familiar with the state’s laws regarding assisted reproductive technology and surrogacy specifically.
Types of Surrogacy Available in Alabama
In Alabama, in the absence of surrogacy laws, there are no regulations addresses the different types of surrogacy. However, it is generally understood that both traditional surrogacy (where the surrogate uses her own eggs) and gestational surrogacy (where the Intended Parent’s embryos are transferred to the surrogate) are permitted due to a lack of regulation prohibiting either. When it comes to surrogacy options, gestational surrogacy is preferred due to its lower legal and emotional complexities compared to traditional surrogacy. However, both types have their own unique considerations that should be discussed with a reproductive law specializing attorney.
Legal Considerations for Surrogacy in Alabama
When considering surrogacy laws in Alabama, it’s important to consult with a surrogacy attorney experienced in reproductive law and Alabama surrogacy laws to navigate the legal aspects of the process. Here are some key points to consider:
- Legal procedures must be followed for recognition of parentage.
- Intended Parents may need to complete an adoption after birth.
- Establishing parental rights under surrogacy in the state may be achieved through an adoption process where pre-birth orders are unavailable.
- Stepparent adoption is another option available in Alabama and can enables a spouse to obtain full parental rights through adoption.
Medical and Screening Process for Surrogates in Alabama
Surrogates in Alabama undergo rigorous medical and psychological screenings to ensure their suitability for the surrogacy journey. These evaluations include comprehensive medical assessments to evaluate the surrogate’s overall health and reproductive capabilities. Additionally, psychological screenings are conducted to identify any potential emotional challenges and ensure the surrogate’s mental well-being throughout the process. The ASRM organization and surrogacy industry professionals have worked hard to establish ethical guidelines and standards that prioritize the well-being and autonomy of all parties involved. Read about some of their recommended guidelines for surrogates. For potential surrogates, take our short quiz to see if you might be qualified. Here’s some of the questions Intended Parents should ask potential surrogates. Keep the following requirements in mind when deciding to become a surrogate in Alabama:
- Your age should be between 21-44, exact ages may vary by clinic.
- You should have had no major pregnancy complications e.g. preeclampsia, placental abruption/previa.
- Your prior pregnancies must have been easy and you have at least one biological child you are raising or have raised.
- You have permanent and safe housing.
- You have stable finances. You cannot be on government assistance.
- You have a willingness to follow doctor’s orders including taking medication as prescribed.
- You have a healthy weight/BMI and have no major health issues, especially ones where pregnancy is a contradiction.
- You do not smoke or use harmful drugs/substances.
Assuming you believe you’re qualified for Alabama surrogacy, you’ll then be able to match with Intended Parents. Surrogacy Place offers you the opportunity to match via the criteria that’s important to you, including the location of the Intended Parents if that’s a consideration for you. After you match, medical screenings occur and contracts are drafted. If all goes well, an embryo will be transferred and a pregnancy will result! Visit the Surrogacy Place step-by-step guide for more information on the process. Here’s some more info on why surrogates in Alabama may prefer Independent matching/journeys.
Pre-birth Parentage Orders in Alabama
Obtaining a pre-birth order in Alabama can vary depending on the county you are in. The process can be complex, so it is important to work with an experienced attorney to establish parental rights in the state. When it comes to venue for pre-birth orders, it is determined by factors such as the residence of the Intended Parents, gestational carrier, or the child’s birthplace. Same-sex parents’ rights are protected in Alabama, with same-sex couples being named as ‘Parent and Parent’ on the final birth certificate. International same-sex male couples also have options for obtaining birth certificates that reflect their parental roles.
Surrogacy for Same-Sex Couples in Alabama
Married same-sex couples in Alabama have legal protections that allow them to be named as parents on the birth certificate via pre-birth order (where available) or via post-birth amendment. This is a significant step towards parenthood rights and legal recognition for LGBTQ+ families in the state. This same protection does not currently, unfortunately, extend to unmarried LGBTQ+ couples. Unmarried couples should consult with a qualified attorney regarding parentage via surrogacy in the state.
Second Parent & Stepparent Adoptions for Alabama Residents
If you’re a heterosexual couple residing in Alabama, you have the option to pursue second parent or stepparent adoptions. However, it’s important to note that the results may vary depending on the county you reside in. For same-sex couples that are not married, however, you’ll need to consult with an attorney to navigate the path towards establishing your parental rights. Unfortunately, in Alabama, same-sex couples are given equal treatment under the law only when they are married.
Egg and Sperm Donation in Alabama
If you’re considering using donated eggs or sperm in Alabama, it’s important to be aware of the legal framework established for egg and sperm donation in the state. Alabama has specific laws that address the legal rights, protections, and responsibilities for donors. Egg and sperm donors are not considered parents as long as the donation occurs in an Assisted Reproduction medical facility such as a Reproductive Endocrinologist office and the couple receiving the material are married. Under the Alabama Uniform Parentage Act, Married couples who undergo Assisted Reproduction are treated as the legal parents of children conceived from donated genetic materials. Unmarried couples (regardless of gender/sexuality) do not have the same protections.
Traditional Surrogacy in Alabama
Traditional surrogacy is when the surrogate uses her own egg/is genetically related to the child, which raises unique legal implications. While there is no specific statute or published case law prohibiting traditional surrogacy in Alabama, the legal framework for this type of surrogacy is generally not as well-defined as for gestational surrogacy anywhere commercial surrogacy is practiced.
Finding a Surrogate or Intended Parent in Alabama
At Surrogacy Place, we have created a platform for surrogates and Intended Parents to find each other based on preferences and requirements. If you’re looking for carriers or parents in Alabama, we offer the tools to search by location. Surrogacy Place’s independent surrogacy matching site is free for surrogates. Intended Parents pay a small subscription fee. Create your profile to find potential matches.
What are some of the advantages of doing an independent journey in Alabama?
There can be significant cost savings for Intended Parents which can result in a higher fee for surrogates (more of the available compensation goes directly to the surrogate!). Going independent also allows for matching on specific criteria including geography if you’re looking for someone local to you, as well as the ability to communicate regularly/specifically express your needs. You’ll also receive no pressure from a third party agency who often prioritize their own financial goals and can push a match on you that may not be a good fit. For more information on the various costs Intended Parents can expect to pay, please see our “how much does surrogacy generally cost” guide.
FAQ: Gestational Surrogacy in Alabama – What You Need To Know
Is surrogacy legal in Alabama?
Alabama does not have specific statutes governing surrogacy, but gestational surrogacy is generally allowed under common law principles.
Are surrogacy agreements enforceable in Alabama?
Surrogacy agreements in Alabama may be legally enforceable, but there is a lack of legal framework to regulate or recognize such agreements. Therefore, it’s strongly recommend you consult with an Assisted Reproduction Attorney licensed in the state for guidance.
Who can participate as Intended Parents in Alabama?
Married or unmarried heterosexual and LGBTQ+ couples, individuals experiencing infertility or medical issues where pregnancy is not possible or advised, and anyone who believes surrogacy is the right medical decision for their family can participate as Intended Parents in Alabama.
Can I pursue surrogacy independently in Alabama?
Yes, you can pursue an independent surrogacy journey (surrogacy without a surrogacy agency) in the state, and there are compelling reasons to consider this option, including cost savings and greater control over the matching process, including the ability to vet multiple potential candidates.
What types of surrogacy are available in Alabama?
Both traditional surrogacy (where the surrogate uses her own eggs) and gestational surrogacy (where the Intended Parent’s embryos are transferred to the surrogate) are permitted in Alabama due to a lack of regulation prohibiting either.
What legal considerations should I be aware of when pursuing surrogacy in Alabama?
It’s important to consult with an attorney experienced in reproductive law to navigate the legal aspects of surrogacy in Alabama, including the legal procedures for recognition of parentage, such as pre-birth orders and adoption.
What are the requirements for surrogates in Alabama?
Surrogates in Alabama should typically be between the ages of 21-44, have had no major pregnancy complications, have stable housing and finances, and meet various health and lifestyle criteria. These requirements ensure the well-being of both the surrogate and the child. Here’s some of the general requirements surrogates should meet.
How can same-sex couples protect their parental rights in Alabama through surrogacy?
Married same-sex couples can establish parental rights on the birth certificate via pre-birth order or post-birth amendment. Unmarried same-sex couples will need to consult with an attorney for guidance as the same protections are not extended to unmarried partners.
What are the advantages of pursuing an independent surrogacy journey in Alabama?
Independent surrogacy can lead to cost savings for Intended Parents, allows for specific matching criteria, and provides greater control over the surrogacy process. Learn more about independent surrogacy. For personalized guidance and legal advice regarding surrogacy in Alabama, always consult with a qualified Assisted Reproduction Attorney or reproductive specialist in the state. This FAQ serves as a general overview and should never replace legal consultation.